It seems to me, we all have plenty of reason to be angry, God knows not one of us has escaped misfortune, or… we could be grateful for the experiences, knowledge, wisdom and maturity the totality that our life has given us. Either stance is logically permissible. By the time we are five years old we have been dealt a bad hand. We have had to go from a comfortable crawl to learn to stand and walk, which, if you think about it, is pretty unfair. On the other hand, one could be grateful for the ability to stand and walk on one’s own. It is in humility that our gratefulness is fully matured. True gratefulness by definition, is based in the humble recognition that it, (the good we are grateful for), might not have been there. As a result of our free will, we get to choose whether to be angry or grateful, along with all that implies. What power over our own happiness and indeed contentment, along with the power over our station that free choice gives us.
The situation we find ourselves in, are only part of the equation of how an episode in our lives comes out. Our reaction to that event also has to be factored in. At no time is this more true than… months, years and even decades after the fact. Anger at being treated unfairly is one reaction that is fully justifiable, or grateful it didn’t turn out worse, is another. Multiply the effect of anger over months, years and decades, and that justifiable anger results in bitterness and resentment. How you feel about a thing does not have to be how you think about a thing. Moreover, the more you will your logic over your emotion, the stronger mentally you will become. Your will doing mental push ups. Gratefulness mitigates almost any situation. Clearly, there are some that in the immediate, no amount of will can overcome, but time allows the will to gain the advantage.
Gratefulness leads inexorably to happiness. The two go hand in hand. You could search, as one does the black swan, for a grateful person who is unhappy, but if you do find one, by definition you haven’t found someone grateful. Anger on the other hand leads to unhappiness. When have you met someone in perpetual anger who was deeply happy? You haven’t, because the angry are unhappy, just as the grateful are glad. Making it clear that our happiness is in our own hands, not anyone else’ nor the situation we find ourselves in. Without spending most of our time, and mental energy being angry, allows us more time to focus on the environment we find ourselves in. Obviously, those who focus outwardly advance in whatever endeavor they undertake, while those constantly focused inwardly, trip on every stumbling stone of life.
Happiness and contentment are tightly correlated states of being. What good is it to be the richest person on the planet if one is not content? Living with some mosquito buzzing in their inner ear, never quieting it for long by buying stuff, sex or prestige, because it exists on the blood of their anger. To be content makes the life of anyone sweet, to live malcontent renders a life ill lived. If she is content, the poorest person on the planet lives a good life. Moreover, contentment leads to a better situation. People who are happy, and therefore content, will find more and more opportunities in life. Others find people who are deeply happy to be magnetic… especially people with power. Humble gratefulness then, along with allowing us better focus outwardly, makes us more magnetic, which gives us power over our station.
It all falls back on that choice, the astonishing power of free will, to be angry, because God knows, we have plenty of reason to be, or grateful, because of the life, knowledge and wisdom our experiences gave us. The one thing we should be on guard for is, comparing ourselves to others, which leads to arrogance rather than humble thankfulness. So you could say that choosing to be humbly grateful… will lead to happiness, which will lead to contentment, which then leads to the better standard of living that a better situation gives us, which of course, leads to more things to be grateful for. But then again… there is so much to be angry about. It’s your choice.